The European Parliament has moved closer to mandating the installation of an emergency call system in all new cars and smaller commercial vehicles. Earlier this week MEPs voted to require all new car models to have its eCall system installed from 31st March 2018. They’d originally hoped to mandate eCall from 2015.
eCall would use mobile phone technology and the current 112 (999) emergency telephone number to call the emergency services if a car is involved in a major accident. This would enable a faster response from rescue teams.
However, MEPs changed the draft law to increase data protection so that eCall-equipped vehicles cannot be tracked before an accident. In addition, the automatic call would include a restricted amount of information about the vehicle and would not be passed to third parties without the consent of the person concerned.
Olga Sehnalova, rapporteur for the parliament’s Internal Market Committee, said “Too many people die in accidents on Europe’s roads. The eCall system will help to improve road safety by enabling emergency services to locate and reach accident victims much faster. As a public service, eCall will be free of charge for all citizens, whatever car they drive and whatever its purchase price. The new rules will ensure that eCall works only as safety device. It will be illegal to use it to track a driver’s movements or to misuse location data, which must be sent only to the emergency services.”
Before this new agreement becomes law for car manufacturers, it needs to be formally approved by all EU member states and then the entire European Parliament next year. It doesn’t apply to other vehicles, including buses, coaches or trucks; these would need a separate law.